Risperdal Statute of Limitations Raised in Boys’ Breast Growth Lawsuits
As Johnson & Johnson continues to face hundreds of Risperdal lawsuits filed on behalf of boys who developed breasts that were allegedly caused by side effects of the atypical antipsychotic, the drug maker is now attempting to avoid responsibility for any failure to warn in many of the cases, arguing that plaintiffs waited too long to file their complaints.
Last week, attorneys for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals subsidiary filed a motion for summary judgement, asking Pennsylvania Judge Arnold A. New to issue an order that may result in the dismissal of hundreds of lawsuits on the basis that they were filed after the applicable statute of limitations.
Every legal claim has a statute of limitations, or deadline, which requires any lawsuit be filed within a certain amount of time. While the specific time frames provided vary from state-to-state, most require that any lawsuit be filed within two or three years after the plaintiff knew or reasonably could have discovered the cause of action.
About 500 product liability lawsuits over Risperdal breast growth among boys are currently pending before Judge New in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
All of the complaints involve similar allegations that warnings were withheld from consumers and the medical community about the risk that boys may grow breast from side effects of Risperdal, which is a medical condition known as gynecomastia.
In the motion, attorneys for the drug maker ask Judge New to rule that all plaintiffs knew or reasonably could have discovered the connection between Risperdal and gynecomastia by October 31, 2006.
Known as inquiry notice, the drug maker argues that based on disclosures made in the Risperdal warning label, that is “the latest date by which any plaintiff claiming to have suffered the injury of gynecomastia from Risperdal use prior to this date should be charged, as a matter of law, with knowledge of a potential connection between Risperdal use and gynecomastia.”
Since many of the lawsuits involved in the Risperdal litigation were filed in the past few years, the drug maker argues that the claims should be barred by the statute of limitations.
Attorneys representing the boys and young men now pursuing damages over Risperdal are expected to officially respond to the motion by early June.
Risperdal Gynecomastia Side Effects
Gynecomastia is a medical condition associated with the abnormal development of breasts among males. The condition is typically associated with disease or metabolic disorders, but it is also known to occur as a side effect of certain medications.
Since other side effects of Risperdal are known cause weight gain, many doctors have failed to immediately diagnose gynecomastia promptly after the symptoms arise.
According to allegations raised in Risperdal suits being pursued by boys and young men nationwide, the warning labels continue to be inadequate and never provided accurate and complete information about the risk. Plaintiffs maintain that if they had been adequately warned, they may have avoided the serious physical and psychological injury from breast growth on Risperdal by avoiding the medication or carefully monitoring for early signs of breast development.
In September 2012, it was reported that Johnson & Johnson reached a Risperdal settlement in a case brought by a 21 year old man, who alleged that side effects of the medication caused him to suffer severe psychological trauma and undergo surgery to have the breasts removed. That agreement was reached shortly before trial was to begin in the case.
Shortly after that, agreements were reached to settle Risperdal lawsuits brought on behalf of at least five other boys who alleged that they experienced unnatural male breast growth.
Most of the litigation pending throughout the United States is filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, but a number of cases are also consolidated in the New Jersey court system as part of an MCL, or multi-county litigation, which is centralized before Judge Jessica R. Mayer in Middlesex County.
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